Friday, April 6, 2012

A Good Impression

"Hey Mom, who's coming over?" Peyton's blue eyes were wide and expectant yesterday as she asked me this question.  I responded, "Why do you ask?  Nobody's coming over, honey."  She paused, looked around and said, "But you're cleaning!"

Ouch.

The house looked immaculate.  The aroma of the new Yankee candle I purchased was flowing through each room of the house like an inviting and aromatic embrace.  I had the new place mats out and the floor had been swept.  The kitchen looked like something from an HGTV makeover show.  I suppose I could see her point. (smile)

When we know people are coming over, we want to put our best foot forward.  Most days, our home is a bit more "lived in".  But yesterday, I just felt like cleaning because I wanted to make it nice for my family.  Nobody coming over.  No dinner parties.  Just family.  And how sad that my baby girl thought it was odd! What does that say about my housekeeping skills?

So, what would happen if someone came over, unannounced?  I have always thought that if that ever happened, I would just give a disclaimer: "If you are here to see a clean house, you must leave at once!  But if you're here to see me, come on in!"  I wonder if I would really do that, though?  What would people think if they saw my house in a "lived in" state?  I know the people who know me best have seen it and still love me anyway, but what about those who only know me from a distance?

Do you ever find yourself "cleaning up" for other people?  I'm not talking about your house now.  I'm talking about your life.  Maybe you feel the pressure of being someone you aren't - someone you really want to be - but you're just not being authentic and honest about who you are to certain people out of fear of being exposed or judged.  Oh, how exhausting this can be!  The truth is, everyone is imperfect, but some are much better at pretending than others.  If we were all just completely honest about our struggles, sins and imperfections, we'd be a lot less stressed out, wouldn't we?

Let's not be like the Pharisees in Matthew 23:25-26, the ones Jesus spoke to saying, "What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy - full of greed and self-indulgence! You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too."

A pure heart is what God is seeking and it should be what we are seeking, too.  Once our hearts are cleaned and pure, the outside will become clean, too.  Instead of trying to make a good impression on the outside to others, let's focus on allowing God to clean us up on the inside so our pure hearts will be what people are drawn to.  Only then can we make a real, lasting impression - an impression that gives the glory to God alone.

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